- Total Score - 9/109/10
Final Fantasy VII Remake delivers a bold reinvention of a classic while changing what a remake truly means.
Developer –Square Enix
Publisher – Square Enix
Platforms – PS4
Today at long last we take a look at Square Enix’s latest remake of Final Fantasy VII. Originally shown years ago during Sony’s legendary 2015 E3,. Final Fantasy VII Remake has had fans captivated with the very idea of it’s existence ever since the Advent Children film released.
Right away this Remake captivates with how incredible it looks. The art-style calls back to the essence of what has to be the most popular JRPG of all time. The style goes beyond how it looks, with every single character has a distinct look. Midgar and Shinra’s bosses fill up the screen and are fun to discover and battle against.
Every landmark, set piece, and pre-rendered background is brought to life with stunning clarity. Even more impressive than how great it looks is how great a job they do of making sure all of the special touches of each location remain intact.
All of the music gets the same treatment the visuals do. A rich, sweeping score composed by Masashi Hamauzu, Mitsuto Suzuki and the legendary Nobuo Uematsu fully captures the nostalgia of the original and add so much nuance and depth to one of the greatest OST’s of all time.
The sound effects, voice over, and battle themes are all incredible and varied. From the first fight and into the hundredth you won’t tire of the music.
The reason why the visuals and sound are so important is because of the game that lies beneath. A substandard effort for either one of those two would do a disservice to a game that is beloved by so many fans. Do you risk upsetting them? Or do you play it safe and and avoid providing anything exciting for returning veterans. They thankfully find ways to satisfy both new and returning fans.
The changes the cast of characters provide dramatically change up what you know and expect from them. Each character is given so much more material to work with. Some of it was bound to happen due to technology. Facial reactions and voice over alone bring characters to life in ways the original couldn’t imagine.
The focus on Midgar and the extended moments in this formally brief chapter provides much more background for these larger than life characters to work with.
Barrett, Tifa and the rest of Avalanche benefit the most from this change. So much of their struggle, home, and just getting a chance to hang with the crew really makes the bond they have make much more sense.
Keeping the story moving, is the incredible combat system. The combat system is very much the core of any JRPG and how you progress and carry out combat goes a long way to making the game feel fresh and exciting, or dull and sleep inducing.
FF7 REMAKE has a ton of new mechanics to keep it fresh, while also keeping the “feel” of the original games ATB battles. At first glance the combat appears similar to 15, but once you dig deeper its a far different beast despite it being in real time.
ATB returns, this time in the form of two pips that have to be used for all actions. To build the charges, you must engage in real time combat. Defending can also fill the ATB meters, and each character can be played as while AI takes over the other 2 party members.
The decision to marry real time combat with the classic ATB system works to perfection. While trying to respect the original, they have created one of the best modern JRPG combat systems. The combat system has so much depth. Dodging, invincible frames, spell interrupts and parries are all featured. Each characters distinct weapons come to life and all of them are absolutely fun to discover and use.
All those skills will be needed because the game actually has some challenge. Dungeons are large and tough enemies will be guarding all the hidden materia and items hidden through out.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is great, but it isn’t free of criticism.
Despite how much they do to the experience, this lingering anxiety is always lurking in the back of your head. For somebody who loved the original like myself, I often found myself anticipating moments I knew were coming rather than appreciating the new content I experiencing.
On the whole it isn’t a huge problem, but as you start playing and getting to some filler chapters that feeling only grows. A couple chapters are more guilty than others, and those moments can be quite a slog to push through to get to the exciting stuff on the other side.
This game also reeks of the exact problem Mark Cerny discussed in his PS5 presentation. Never has a modern game had to hide load times as much as this Remake. No matter what environment or scenario, you better believe Cloud and company will find a narrow hallway to shimmy through to get to the other side. On one hand the visuals justify it, but I couldn’t help but wonder what Part 2 will be like on much more powerful hardware. The slow crawl also hampered my willingness to replay some entire chapters of the game.
Those problems, as real as they are, still didn’t hamper my admiration and love for this remake.
Rich story, great characters, top notch sound and visual design complement the intense and engrossing combat mechanics. An ode to the original while moving the entire story into the modern landscape.
Much ado was also made about the changes near the ending, and I absolutely loved them. Yes it’s not what I was expecting, but without spoiling anything, I’m now even more excited about the future of this story.